Hot Buttered Rum Live in the Northeast self-released
Missoula is about to drown in Hot Buttered Rum. This skilled San Francisco-based quintet will play two local shows in the next 60 days—at The Other Side July 19, and the River City Roots Festival Sept. 16—as part of an extended summer tour. And if the in-person appearances weren’t enough, there’s also the parting gift of their new album: a pristinely produced high-energy live recording released last month.
Fans who just can’t get enough HBR are going to see that hypothesis tested over the next two months, but they’re unlikely to be disappointed by the latest offering. Live in the Northeast is by far the best recorded representation of the band’s estimable stage show, channeling a heavy dose of crowd energy and deft bluegrass jams into a taut 12-song set. The emphasis here is on showcasing the band’s chops; they’re all extremely talented string musicians with a knack for mixing styles and feeding off the audience. The result is a 180-degree turnabout from their stuffy studio recordings—even casual listeners will be hard-pressed not to love their trippy version of “Desert Rat” or buoyant cover of the Dead’s “Cumberland Blues.” They may be flirting with local overkill, but this is HBR’s best album yet. (Skylar Browning)
Hot Buttered Rum plays The Other Side Thursday, July 19, at 9 PM. The Devil Makes Three opens. $12.